Hail To The Thing: On The Duke Nukem Demo

All those years and they couldn't create two different character models? Oh, wait, I see.

Duke Nukem? He’s a goddamned wimp. Gets wrecked on just one can of beer, can’t push a cart up a small hill unless he takes everything out of it first, can’t travel across a desert without his precious car, and he plays with human excretion. He’s back, in a 1.5Gb, two-level demo released today but only to people who preordered Duke Nukem Forever or bought specific editions of Borderlands – and apparently he’s a massive wuss.

Wait. Waiiiiiiiiiiit. I just played Duke Nukem Forever. What is this I don’t even

I call this an anti-demo, because it’s not actually demonstrating the game in order to help you decide whether or not you’re buying it. Instead, it’s a demo you get if you have already paid for Duke Nukem Forever. Or for Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition. Either way, this isn’t a demo in the classical sense – it’s a prized goodie that you pay for, an event in and of itself.

Still: I just played Duke Nukem Forever. It’s a bewildering thing to say, even after a good six months of knowing the game was actually, finally, truly happening. Here’s what I made of it.

It’s two levels, both of which have I believe been previewed by assorted press previously. The first is the introductory one, and specifically the reintroduction of Duke himself. He’s a nasal-sounding, self-important hulk, hero-worshipped by himself and by a handful of beat-up soldiers hanging around the locker room the game starts in, and he takes extreme pleasure from base acts such as urination, insulting people, leching at women and, now infamously, picking up faeces and throwing it around. He’s an ape, essentially. He’s Duke Nukem, and you already know him well. Whether this entertains, disgusts or simply disinterests you may well depend entirely on whether you grew up with and are already fond of the Duke persona. It’s not, in the demo at least, at all an evolved one, and in fact the stepping up of its gleeful gratuitousness most evoked the Postal games to my mind, but with the genuinely sociopathic edges filed off.

The simple physics demo in the introductory level – turd-throwing and scrawling on a whiteboard with all the fluidity of an etch-a-sketch – seems to fade away fast, in favour of a shooter that’s probably most comparable to the better bits of Quake IV, but a whole lot more over the top and gung-ho. The first level segues into a scripted boss battle, in which you hammer bullets at a giant cyclops thing standing in football stadium, while an overhead helicopter drops ammo packs for you. This setpiece’s primary purpose is to demonstrate that Duke is the badass to end all badasses or whatever, the giant thing offering him essentially zero threat and him gleefully finishing it off with a very simple quicktime event that results in dropkicking its giant eyeball over a distant goalpost. After an unending orgy of self-celebration up until that point, it’s a relief to see Duke actually do something to demonstrate quite why he loves himself so much.

Cut to a carefully censored blowjob scene and more self-celebration. I didn’t laugh, but nor was I outraged – it simply seemed neither funny or titillating to me. I don’t have any objection to crudity, it just didn’t seem like very good crudity, and far too lost in navel-gazing adulation of the character rather than having real jokes of its own. If you’re gonna go for it, go for it, but lame innuendo and dated-looking character models is not the stuff that shocks are made of. Still, I did giggle at the awe-struck amazement of a waiting soldier as Duke/I scribbled illegible, feckless gibberish on the whiteboard earlier – the clearest hint given that the game was indeed laughing at itself as well as slapping itself on the back. I hope there’s more of that.

Finally, it’s the off to the game itself, with the bold, bold choice of a desert setting. Duke starts off in his own gaudy monster truck, in a canyon-coasting, ramp-jumping section which seems more than a little like the buggy sections in Borderlands. It doesn’t last long – the thing abruptly runs out of gas at a scripted point, leaving Duke on foot and in search of fuel.

It proves itself a decent enough combat game at this point – shooting pop-up pig-men with a rapidly wide array of weapons (pistol, shotgun, machinegun, railgun, rocketlauncher and the entertaining but not especially useful shrinkray), followed by a quickie skirmish against a gunship, rendered extremely simple thanks to an indestructible shed to hide inside.

It’s a little like Call of Duty, but sillier (though only just, depending on which CoD you’re talking about) and much more sci-fi (though only just, depending on which CoD you’re talking about). It’s fine! It’s scripted up the wazoo, but things explode spectacularly, the environments are large and pseudo-open in appearance, though of course your path is actually A-B, and it piles on plenty enough bad guys to feel both challenged and a hard-nut. One enemy is much the same as the next, however, very much in the CoD idiom again, and the demo level didn’t offer me anything in the way of air-punching, memorable moments. The railgun’s a fun time, limbs pop off with messy satisfaction and it doesn’t have the air of a cramped corridor shooter; obviously it couldn’t ever, possibly live to up noise it’s made over 12 years, but apart from the dreadful running animation the demo is pretty comparable to today’s console shooters, and not some miserable little retrograde mess. Half-Life 2 knocks it into a cocked hat, but then wasn’t that always going to be the case?

Next, it’s off to some underground tunnels, as Duke uses a spot of physics to push a mine cart filled with non-exploding barrels around a small track. Only when faced with a pretty gentle hill, he can’t do it – unless he takes all three barrels out first. Wimp! Once done, he can climb in himself, release the brake and do an Indy-style hurtle across a ravine. A little more of this and he finds his way to the fabled fuel can, which triggers a swarm of ugly spidery things. He shoots them, has another on-rails experience as his cart bursts overground and along an impossible, rollercoaster-like track patrolled by easily splatted pigmen, then he’s back to his car and the end of the demo.

It’s fine. It’s a first-person shooter in the manner we’re all terribly familiar with, with some confidently excessive setpieces, a spot of gentle bad language and lad’s mag lustiness peppered on top. I would question the logic of using a desert level for the demo (how many times have we been there?), but maybe the point is to normalise expectations rather than expect something mythical.

It’s fine. The demo is fine – it’s got a reasonable amount of variety, it only looks about three or four years old and it’s clearly very much enjoying existing. It’s fine. But nothing more than that. The full game I very obviously can’t speak for, though the trailer that ends the demo suggests a cavalcade of bigger, brasher, more impressive setpieces in environments that aren’t brown and bland, so I look forward to giving that stuff a try. Can’t say I’m expecting to especially be on tenterhooks for the next two weeks going on this, however. That said, my interest in it is purely as a new videogame to assess, not as a new, long-awaited Duke Nukem product – if you’re someone who’s been breathlessly anticipating it for ages, you honestly should not bother caring about what I have to say, because we’re looking at it from fundamentally different angles. Duke never having been a franchise that I had strong feelings about, I didn’t have any particular expectations going into the demo, nor do I have any coming out of it. The demo suggests it’s just an average-seeming, slightly dated first-person shooter game with blowjob gags. Good for it.

It’s fine. Still though: Duke gets double-vision and sways all over the place after just one can of beer. What. A. Wimp.


  1. geldonyetich says:

    Not letting me play the demo until I bought the game… feeling a little inadequate there, Duke?

    • Eclipse says:

      the game is still not release, why they would let you play a demo and then don’t let you buy the game? the demo will be released for everyone to try on release date

    • geldonyetich says:

      No, I think I got it right the first time, if Duke was feeling up to the challenge the demo would be public prior to release in order to drum up interest in buying on release. You know, like how demos were originally intended to be used.

      Instead, this demo is being leveraged as a bit of meat to dangle in front of gamers in order to encourage them jump up and bite the hook by either pre-ordering this game or Borderlands GOTY edition. It’s underhanded, sure, but insidiously good marketing.

      That said, DungeonCraft looks interesting, keep up the good work.

  2. Guiscard says:

    Ok stupid question time: how do I access the demo if I own Borderlands GOTY on Steam? I know I’m eligible for the demo, but I can’t work out how to get it. My Borderlands DLC listing on Steam has says I have the code, but how do I activate it?

    • Mitthrawn says:

      you should have gotten an email telling you you have access. Click o the page in your email and then put the code in the field that appears along with your email. You’ll get a serial for use on steam.

    • Oneironaut says:

      1. Go to Steam Games list
      2. Right-click Borderlands
      3. View CD Keys.
      4. Find “Duke Nukem Forever First Access Club Code”
      5. Copy that to clipboard.
      6. Go to link to dukenukemforever.com
      7. Enter your code and any other info it asks for.

  3. Mitthrawn says:

    I do have to agree with alot of people here. Alec, for God’s sake, stop taking yourself so Goddamn seriously. “Oh he flings poo, oh crude fellatio joke, if only there were more brown shooters that took themselves seriously while postulating north korean- US invasions.”


    Duke nukem is exactly what the industry needs, to stop taking itself so seriously and enjoy making games and telling silly stories. I’d much rather have a game that knows EXACTLY what it is, and executes that perfectly, than the collection of feeble minded 12 year old’s interpretation of tom clancy’s “serious” military shooters, which is as ludicrous as Duke Nukem, but for the wrong reasons.

    We get it, you don’t like Duke Nukem. But why do you have to rain on the parade of people who do, or even care. What I don’t get is why you hate something so much that is just fun. And no, COD is not fun. COD takes itself seriously while suggesting situations which could never ever, ever happen. That is just ridiculous. This is ludicrous, over- the-top, pants -bursting fun. Sounds like something you could use.

    • Thants says:

      “I don’t have any objection to crudity, it just didn’t seem like very good crudity…”
      -Alec Meer

      I would suggest that YOU stop taking yourself so goddamn seriously. It’s getting really old that every time there’s an at all negative option about something we get these cries of “How dare you, you fun hating monster!”.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      COD is fun for the many people who enjoy it; unless of course there is some other definition of ‘fun’ I am unaware of.

    • Mitthrawn says:


      I don’t take myself seriously at all. Neither does Duke. Alec obviously does. And saying oh yes, I enjoy crudity, etc etc, reminds me of the old chestnut, some of my best friends are black/jewish/irish/welsh whatever. In that case, the speaker is really a racist. And Alec is obviously against crudity. And a man who takes himself too seriously.

      It doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him a terrible choice to review the demo of a game that enjoys, celebrates, nay worships base crudity and potty language. Clearly there are a group of us who love that Duke doesn’t take himself too seriously, and it isn’t brown. It just seemed like a bizarre choice to have alec review this. He clearly feels a bit of hostility toward the game. Why not let someone who enjoys that style of game, that 80’s american action movie kind of game, review it instead?

    • Hidden_7 says:

      The thing is, the game just isn’t that good. I don’t think I need things taken seriously, I enjoy big dumb action movies, I adored Borderlands, and that was fully of silly, goofy, crude humour. This, the humour didn’t really click with me, but even ignoring that, on a game mechanic level, it’s just not very good. It doesn’t feel satisfying to shoot baddies, it’s made a number of mind-boggling design decisions (two weapons? In a Duke Nukem game?! You can only hold five pipe bombs at a time?!), the level design wasn’t very good, (here is your perfunctory hidey-hole for shooting rockets at the helicopter from), it just wasn’t very much fun for me. The thing feels, rather ironically given its 12 years of development, unfinished.

      I agree that the games industry needs more silliness, but this game isn’t making a strong case for it as leader of that charge, and I was even excited to play it, to the point where the trailer plays after the demo I rather didn’t enjoy and I think “yeah, I want to play THAT game.”

      It’s perfectly reasonable to not be overly serious, po-faced, and come away from this demo thinking it wasn’t very good.

    • Bhazor says:

      Grey shooters that take themselves seriously?
      You mean like Portal? Or Bulletstorm? Or Metal Gear Solid? Or Vanquish? Or EDF? Or Serious Sam? Or Painkiller? Or Matt Hazard? Or Saints Row? Or Just Cause? Or Jakk and Daxter? Or Borderlands?

      Some people are just desperate to cling to some reason to like this aged, toothless, generic mess. What a shame.

    • UberMonkey says:

      Honestly I think the problem with it isn’t that it’s crude or out of date, it’s that it feels like every shooter from *this* generation. If you told me development on DNF had started 2 years ago, I’d say “sounds about right, this feels like a current-gen mid-range XBox shooter.” To be honest, that may essentially be true; I highly doubt many of the assets from the past 12 years were viable, and wouldn’t be surprised if Gearbox essentially had to start over and quickly build a sort of “Duke Nukem fan sequel.”

      I can’t really comment on the quality of the humor… this demo clearly contains a very small sampling of the content. I liked the whiteboard bit. What I can comment on is the gameplay, which seems to be based on a number of poor choices taken from the conventions of the current console generation. I even made a list of the ones that stood out most:

      -Mouse acceleration. At least you can turn it off, but they labeled it as “mouse precision” in the menu.
      -Terrible FOV. Feels like you’re playing through a zoom lense.
      -Just blured the hell out of everything since the textures aren’t really that great.
      -Oh good, quick time events. Those are always exciting.
      -Regenerating health. You can make any arguments for liking regen HP, I still hate it. Being able to regen while in combat means the game is essentially “hide behind a rock.” Duke can only take a few hits before dying, so the game will probably mostly degrade into hiding behind things and popping out (the gunship encounter).
      -Two weapons. Because it’s more fun when you have fewer choices. So we have regen HP so that the designers don’t have to place health packs before major encounters, but now they have to carefully distribute appropriate weapons for each encounter anyway.
      -Essentially no jumping. Duke can’t jump over a 1 ft pile of rubble, makes it easier to restrict movement through the levels.
      -Related to above, basically no vertical movement in the game.

      I really hoped DNF would be such a throwback from a gameplay perspective that it would help kill some of these trends, but it actually follows almost all of them. All that said, it’s better than I expected. I expected Daikatana. :P

    • Urthman says:

      Mitthrawn, if you’re willing to give lame attempts at humor and lame gameplay a pass just because the game “doesn’t take itself seriously” then I’m much more interested in Alec’s opinions than yours.

      And if you really can’t see this is more like CoD than the original Duke Nukem 3D, I question whether you’ve actually played either one.

  4. Mescale says:

    So I played the demo, was underwhelmed, I’ve seen the demo contents before. The combat wasn’t interesting, the art style was bland, it seems the creators have no wit and instead decided to go with the most purile and repulsive jokes they could find. I wonder if they ever even played the original games.

    So then I pulled out Duke 3D, had I forgot what Duke 3D was like, was it this lame? I used the high res texture pack and played it and I had fun, remembered what made Duke 3D great, awesome level design, exploring the map to find all the secrets, great art style, Duke 3D has so many neat little game play things, jet pack, decoy, steroid boost… he could carry 10 weapons!111one.

    I fail to see how anyone who played Duke 3D could produce Duke Nukem Forever and be proud or satisfied.

    It really comes down to the conclusion that it is just a money grab riding on the game name, hype, etc.

    I propose that it should win the award for the most eminently miss-able game of 2011.

  5. Synth says:

    Well, the demo completely underwhelmed me. Poor aesthetic design, the tauted ‘witty’ one-liners nearly always failed to amuse, and the combat felt, well, just flat. I thought this was supposed to be the outrageous gunplay of the nineties everyone keeps shouting about, but all there is is a weird looking machine gun, a gaudy pistol, and your standard shotgun and rocket launcher. The shrink ray is amusing as a concept, but it’s nearly useless in the actual game. And even then you can only carry two weapons at any given time. Hell, even super-serious Half Life 2 let you carry the equivalent of a black market gun shop on your back.

    The one part I did enjoy was doodling on the white board, and the fun was sucked out of even that when the simpleton next to me kept spouting the same three adulatory lines of dialogue ad nauseaum.

    If the demo was the only thing to go by when it came to deciding whether or not to buy the game, I’d pass on it without a second thought.

    Now all of you who played DN3D can tell me how I just don’t get it or something.

    • UberMonkey says:

      Nope, you get it completely. That “outrageous gunplay” has been replaced with standard current-gen console shooter mechanics. To me it essentially feels like “Call of Duty: Groin Kicks and Boobs.” I have nothing against groin kicks and boobs, but I’m just not a fan of the 360-era console shooter. It has regenerating HP, I’m surprised they didn’t go all-out and make it a 3rd person cover shooter.

      As someone who actually did play DN3D back when it came out, I was hoping this would use some of the older FPS gameplay elements that have been missing, like giving the player a massive stack of crazy weapons and gadgets to play with and letting them just take on the enemies head to head.

  6. HeavyStorm says:

    The great value of this is, and we’re probably missing the point if we don’t see it, it’s finally out and the seal is broken. DN4Ever will suck. I was predestined to suck ever since what? 1999? 2000 if you are nice? And unlike a good wine, most games age pretty bad.

    But the seal is broken, this giant iceberg that is DN4Ever is out of the way (or will be pretty soon if the world doesn’t suddenly come to an end), and now we can already starting waiting for a true sequel, maybe a real Duke game that doesn’t have more than a decade of development. (but let’s not, ok? Let’s just think of it “when it’s done”, as 3D Realms used to say).

  7. RiptoR says:

    I find it very weird no one has mentioned yet that the “boss fight” in the demo is actually a reimagining of one of the original boss fights in Duke3D, even down to scoring a field goal with the monster’s eye…

    Made me actually wonder if anyone even remembers the levels from Duke3D (before I came to my senses that is)…

    • DK says:

      Yeah it is reimagined.

      Reimagined a frantic final boss fight that makes you use all the tools in your box, from holograms to steroids as a quicktime puncutated monkey-proof “have best weapon – check, point at enemy who doesn’t move – check, tell player he did good when he inevitably wins without having to think for a split second – check”

    • Angel Dust says:

      I would have thought it was so obvious that it didn’t need pointing out but yeah, it does seem that a lot of people have forgotten, or never played, the ending of Duke 3D.

      I’m not sure where I stand on this game at the moment. I was a big Duke 3D fan and when 3D Realms announced they were stopping development on it I was disappointed. I was always hoping that some other team would pick it up and finish it so when Gearbox (a great fit for the material) announced they were, I was quite pleased but the more I’ve seen of it the less I want it. I mean, a big, goofy and colourful shooter with spectacular set-pieces sounds like a great time but the combat looks clunky and the humour more abundant and forced this time. It’s definitely not a day-one purchase for me anymore but I can see myself picking it up in a sale and having a reasonably fun time with it though.

      It also has to said that a 2 weapon limit in a Duke Nukem game is an unbelievably stupid design decision.

    • Guiscard says:

      Were you playing the same Duke3D as me back in 96 DK? I recall that the final boss was just as complicated to defeat in the original as it was here: circlestrafe him with the Devestator until he falls over. Never had to touch steroids etc, even on higher difficulties. The only basic gameplay differences are that ammo isn’t provided by shooting the blimp down, the boss has a jet-pack charging attack and there aren’t any cheerleaders who will cause more enemies to spawn in if they die.

    • soldant says:

      @Guiscard: Fuly agree, all the bossfights in DN3D revolved around cricle-strafing and holding down CTRL. People are acting like DN3D was some sort of tactical combat simulator with intelligent weapon choice and sneaky tactics. It wasn’t, it was like all other 90s games: don’t stop moving, don’t stop shooting. Except in DN3D you could fly. Also as I recall the Holoduke was useless, the AI would frequently ignore it and it’d just stand there doing nothing so humans wouldn’t be fooled either.

    • Angel Dust says:

      Not to mention that in this game, the Cycloid Emperor is the very first enemy you encounter so making it a difficult boss-fight would have been a bit daft.

    • Nick says:

      It was so reimagined I didn’t get hit once. But yeah, I don’t think the point of the intro is to challenge, thats why it cuts back to Duke playing it, it was sort of a nod to how awesome he is within the fiction I think. It was a joke intro.. like the start of Scream 4.

  8. MythArcana says:

    So…what I’m getting from all this is that Duke is now the sad statistic of a console-based game trying to appease the older PC fans of yesteryear? I’ll check out the game when it comes out, but hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be Serious Sam 3.

  9. Roaring Panda says:

    Everyone has some massive angry opinion for some reason. Calm down guys you’re making me sad :(

  10. Sinnorfin says:

    The screenshot with the EDF soldier.

    Is that the part when he mocks you by saying something like ” what? you’re gonna go and save the world by yourself?”

    I thought with these fine fists out.. This man cries for a punch in the face..

    The game didnt think so..I was just hitting thin air.. I nose a german sense of humour in this game..Trying hard falling short.

  11. Sinnorfin says:

    Fun-fact: the mirror is not broken because it looks cooler this way..It broken so you dont see Duke jump..He jumps hiariously…:D really:D check it out.

  12. boldoran says:

    I am not impressed. Had to turn off the depth of field effect in the desert because everything looked like filmed through an empty soda bottle. I didn’t hate it but it did not spark my interest either. Maybe I will buy it in a Steam sale next year or something.

  13. GallonOfAlan says:

    Well, it’s about what I expected – 90s FPS action with a Doom III-style look, if the demo is anything to go by. Which is fine by me. I’m sick of more-po-faced-than-thou rails-setpiece-rails.

    • bill says:

      why do people keep saying it has old-style FPS action when it’s clearly a new-style FPS in old-style clothes?

  14. bhlaab says:

    It’s not so much a throwback to Duke3D as it is a bad Half Life 2 clone. I went into this demo expecting something mildly decent and left unfulfilled even by those standards.

  15. pipman3000 says:

    i feel so vindicated right now you don’t even know

  16. Fathom says:

    This guy Alec Meer is an idiot. You have a problem with blowjob innuendo but I’m guessing you never bat an eye to the excessive violence in this and every other game out there. And this was barely even a demo, I don’t know how you were able to write this much up about it. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

    • poop says:

      the great thing about a demo thats preorder exclusive is that its guaranteed that 3/4ths of the people who play it will already be obsessed with teh game and ignoring all criticism

    • Nick says:

      I don’t see where he has a problem with it, but I guess you’d have to be able to understand what you just read so that may be an issue for you.. it certainly appears to be.

  17. poop says:

    “Average-seeming […] its fine.” – Rock Paper Shotgun

    theres a quote for the back of the box

  18. MaxNormal says:

    Heh. I has to turn off the vaseleneovision in the advanced options. I only actually wanted to turn off their truly awful depth of field but they lumped it together with tone mapping, bloom and ambient occlusion

    Cant resist posting my “review” from the GOG comp thread:

    O Duke! my Duke! your fearful trip is done;
    The game has weather’d every engine, lawsuits fought and won;
    The date is near, “gone gold” I hear, PR hacks all exulting,
    While follow eyes through vaselene, the ageing throwback nearing:
    But O shrink! poop! piss!
    O the bleeding chunks of red,
    Where on launch day my Duke he lies,
    Fallen cold and dead.

    (After Whitman)

  19. nuh uh no way says:

    it’s fine, it’s all fine.

  20. Danorz says:

    “I would question the logic of using a desert level for the demo” this was literally the first thing i said to myself. brown, mandatory hide in cover section? it’s almost like they did it on purpose but it’s a joke that works against them.

    • Danorz says:

      i’m still buying it anyway because it’s DUKE for fuck’s sake. i think this mindset is going to be well over 3/4 of its sales.

  21. pipman3000 says:

    more like dookie poop’em.

    cause he plays with turds.

  22. Daryl says:

    I feel similar to what I’m getting from this review. It was just ok. It was just another FPS game. It just simply didn’t do much for me. The truck scene was pretty fun. Also I liked the intro cinematic that kinda went through a lot of the areas of Duke 3D. Other than that, meh. At the risk of being told that I hate fun, maybe between 1998 and now dick and fart jokes just lost their appeal to me. I’ll wait a couple of years for a 10 dollar Steam sale.

    Oh yeah, and fuck checkpoints.

  23. sigma83 says:

    I’m sorry, TWO WEAPON LIMIT?


    TWO!?! WEAPON!?!? LIMIT!?!?!?!

    _Instantly_ lost all interest in playing this game.

    And the reason for this insane decision?

    Apparently they couldn’t arrive at an appropriate console control scheme.


    • thegooseking says:

      Couldn’t arrive at an appropriate console control scheme?

      Here’s one: You see that ‘switch weapon’ button you’ve got mapped, there? How about remapping it to ‘next weapon’? Or, if you want to get more fancy, perhaps hold it to bring up a weapon menu that can be navigated using the analogue stick or D-pad?

      That took me 30 seconds. No-one came up with this in 12 years?

    • DK says:

      It’s because Gearbox is populated by idiots. M-O-R-O-N-S. The drooling variant.
      Their PC QA team uses GAMEPADS ONLY.
      They are reprehensible and it’s clear that where 3D Realms looked at Duke and said “this just isn’t good enough, we can’t release it”, Gearbox said “that’s good enough, throw it out”

    • UberMonkey says:

      I actually doubt Gearbox used very much of the content left over from the previous decade of development. It would have likely been such a worthless mess it wasn’t even worth dealing with. This essentially feels like a Duke Nukem-themed Borderlands mod.

      I liked Borderlands, but only because it was moderately open-ended and had co-op. And you could hold a huge pile of weapons, even if they weren’t especially diverse.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I think that should really rather put paid to the notion that this is an “old school” FPS in the mould of Duke 3D (or even Half-Life 2, for that matter).

    • kevmscotland says:

      I’m reasonably sure gearbox took most of what was left and just polished and bug fixed it into a releasable state.
      Theyve not nearly had enough time with the game for it to have been anything else.
      Theres no way this was built over the last 6 months, especially since most of what we’ve seen in demo form etc was already there months ago.

      Ive never really been interested in this title, but to say its been by Gearbox is abit unfair, as I suspect most of this work is the work of 3D Realms.

      People wanted to see DN:F released, gearbox made it happen.
      Like it or not, this is the game we probably would have got even if GB hadnt been involved and 3D realms continued, assuming they ever got around to releasing it.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      There are threads on this springing up all over the GBX forum.

      There is a 1000+ post thread voting with over 80%+ for a weapons wheel instead of a crippled 2 gun limit, that was both ridiculed and then ignored by GBX.

      So much for ties back to the community. A fan oriented co-development this surely is not, which is why I say it’s likely better to give your money to people like Arcen Games et al, because they actually will not only talk to you on the forum, but there is an actual risk they might listen.

  24. Lemming says:

    What Gearbox have failed to realise in the humour department is this fundemental princicple:

    A fart on it’s own is not funny, unless you are a child. In context, however it can be funny. A fart at a funeral for instance, can be hilarious.

    Gearbox seem to have favoured the former as their template.

  25. madbird-valian says:

    Gearbox have ruined Duke. I’m not saying the game won’t be any good, but Duke is definitely handicapped forever because of this game.

    A maximum of 2 weapons? One beer? Unable to push a fucking cart full of empty barrels? No megaboot melee attack? This is not the Duke I grew up with, the Duke I love.

    Well done, Gearbox.

  26. bill says:

    I think Gearbox, and many others, have fallen into the trap of thinking that Duke Nukem is an important part of Duke Nukem games.

    Duke nukem games are about cool levels and cool weapons and shooting things a lot. The characters and sprites and strippers were all totally window-dressing, just like the tacked-on text story of Quake.
    You could strip them all out and the game would be just as fun.

    They could have ditched all the humour and all the sex and made a good game with lots of freedom and weapons – but they did the opposite and made a linear game with 2 weapons and focused on the wrong parts.

  27. GallonOfAlan says:

    So, people are bitching and not buying the game because Duke has to take barrels out of a minecart before pushing. Is this the level of pickiness we’re at now? I bet if it was Gordon Freeman and any of the physics-related inconstencies he finds himself confronted with, nobody would care.

    • pipman3000 says:

      no people are bitching and not buying the game because it is shit

    • madbird-valian says:


      People are bitching and saying they’re not going to buy the game because that is not what Duke is about. Duke Nukem is about being an unstoppable force of awesome, not being a pussy.

      Gordon would need to take all teh barrels out because he’s a nerd.

    • GallonOfAlan says:


      Well I stand corrected then, I based my impressions on a two-level demo, not the entire game from start to finish, like you’ve obviously played.

    • pipman3000 says:


  28. Jason Moyer says:

    I find it weird that people are pinning anything good or bad on Gearbox when their role in the completion of DNF seems to be more about project management than creating/refining content. Not only did they hire the former DNF team from 3D Realms to finish the game, but the levels in the demo (and, as far as I can tell, the trailers) are from the plot/progress outline that was leaked when 3D Realms was effectively shut down.

    • Angel Dust says:

      Indeed. They (the levels) were also in the leaked videos and screenshots that appeared (ex-employee portfolios) after 3D Realms announced it was no longer developing Duke.

      And hello Mr. Moyer. TTLG 4 LIFE!

  29. stonedturtle says:

    Been reading through these comments and all I have to say is that it’s funny to see people trying to insult the people who like Duke Nukem (more or less DN3D). “It’s only funny for kids blah blah blah”. Maybe this people should pull the stick out of their ass. Seriously, I could counter with “games are for kids and are only enjoyable for people with very small intellect”. But that wouldn’t be fair because neither statement has any real solid base to it and both are merely opinions.

    Get off your high horse thinking the things you do and/or play are “mature” and that anything you wouldn’t play or enjoy and anyone that would results in a person who is either childish or not intelligent.

    If you didn’t like the demo and don’t like the look of the game, fine that’s your choice and opinion. But don’t sit here trying to insult the people who do. You want to talk about maturity and things like that, well here’s a mature lesson for you, learn to accept others fucking opinions.

    Titsboobs said the Duke

  30. Lagwolf says:

    I am thinking a patch might come down the pike soon to correct the 2 weapon limit, because everyone is upset about that.

    Considering all its faults you have to wonder if anyone at Gearhead actually played the previous games.

    • Dana says:

      Thats highly unlikely. They probably balanced the gameplay around having 2 weapons, already.

    • Lagwolf says:

      Wonder if anyone is going to do a mod then. Its amazing how everyone who plays it really gets annoyed by 2 weapon rule.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Considering the CEO of Gearbox is credited as a designer on Duke 3D, I’m going to wager a hunch he played it.

      I’d also wager that the 2-weapon limit was something 3D Realms had in the game before Gearbox was given the chance to manage the project. Seriously, there’s pretty much no evidence that GBX had anything to do with the design of DNF (and plenty of evidence that they didn’t). They’re there to make sure the product ships, that’s it.

  31. psyk says:


    It seems people keep buying games from a genre they don’t like either because they are easily swayed by the opinions of there peers or because they don’t know what they like and can’t work out from past purchases they don’t like the genre.

  32. Azradesh says:

    Any thoughts on the 2 weapons only change?

    • sigma83 says:

      It makes zero sense and to me comes directly from a console shooter mentality, which is frankly disappointing given that this game was supposed to be getting away from all that guff. It has significantly reduced my desire to get this game.

      Dear lord, I hope Serious Sam 3 doesn’t go this way. Red dot sights I can accept, the new engine I’m fine with. Weapon limits better not be in there.

    • Sinnorfin says:

      By this we also get to say goodbye to combining weapons.. shrink, freeze, shotgun.. or anything like that..

  33. BeamSplashX says:

    Horribly mutilated corpses and intense violence, I can handle. I might grit my teeth if it’s especially grisly.

    Shit, I can’t. I pretty much have to look away to avoid losing my lunch. I guess I’m skipping this one, just like Mafia II after I heard about the mission you spend covered in the stuff. Bleagh.

  34. mwoody says:

    I’m old enough to remember being pissed off that Duke got credit for its “great lines,” when they were just stolen from Army of Darkness and They Live. Now, not only do they continue to recycle the same stolen content, they’ve apparently decided that plagiarism is just Duke’s style as he makes boring references to 300 and other recent films or other sources.

    The old quotes worked because their target audience didn’t realize they were stolen. Littering the game with rehashed pop culture will not make the sequel tolerable.

  35. geldonyetich says:

    Having played the demo, I can say the game is a serviceable console port FPS that has one redeeming feature: it’s not a FPS, it’s a parody FPS. It perpetually draws attention to how Duke Nukem is a whole bunch of ridiculous machismo and his run through the demo (and probably the whole game) is just one big standup routine of his ego running rampant.

    The result is actually sort of genius: it’s a big-budget FPS that laughs at itself and, consequently, introduces that as a novel feature. Pay special attention to the way Duke Nukem actually seems to have a physical presence in the game – it’s necessary to have elevated the narrative to an extent where the idea of a self-lampooning FPS works.

    It’s too bad they charged a full box price for it though. This kind of an experience is really more of a Serious Sam thing. At $20-$30, it’d fly off the shelves with little regrets. At $50, people are going to be expect what they’d be able to get out of Infinity Ward for $50, which DNF is not.

  36. RegisteredUser says:

    I seriously think there needs to be a writeup of how and why a slow rampup of difficulty and enemy monster classes goes hand in hand with a slowly expanding arsenal, per-weapon ammo and scarcity in ammo and health.

    It seems way too many people do not understand how challenge and reward works anymore and how the ramp-up was as integral a part of the FPS as leveling up was to a RPG(which in some games also ended up withered down to hitting +20 instead to +2 whereas the monsters went from 20 hp to 200 and that’s it).

  37. godkingemperor says:

    You don’t even have the Mighty Boot, one of the most iconic elements of Duke.
    Did anyone involved in this games production even play it?

    Oh well. Clearly it’s targetted at the Call of Duty loving 13 year olds, not us.

  38. tehun1337 says:

    ive played the demo and i was drawn back into nostalgia. but as said before it seemed to be a demo that was played at pax. maby instead of an actual demo we who preorderd the game are playing the pax demo which could be a whole lot different to the finished product.

    i also want to know whats up with all the people complaining about the matureity level or lack there of in dnf. I for one knew what i was going into when i bought the game and laugh at how unserious this game and that it knows this. It jokes about how long it took to come out after the boss battle.

    the gameplay its self is not bad, nor is it ground breaking, which to me is a little dissapointing seeing how long i have waited for this game. but none the less it is fun albet a little too easy even on the highest difficulty. i enjoyed the few one liners in the demo.

    for those of you who are complaining about the graphics of the game, i see verry little wrong with them. they may be outdated but its not like your playing a ps1 game again. graphics to me are a final tuch and i can deal without the the best graphics in the world as long as the game is still enjoyable and the graphics dont hinder the gameplay.